Editorial: Let’s make a deal

  • By Peninsula Clarion Editorial
  • Sunday, February 18, 2018 11:07am
  • Opinion

While “don’t touch the dividend” seems to be a popular sentiment across Alaska, lawmakers in Juneau are chained to a different directive: don’t touch the Constitutional Budget Reserve — at least not yet.

A week ago, the state House of Representatives passed a bill to fund education in Alaska. However, the measure called for a draw of $1.2 billion from the Constitutional Budget Reserve, and the measure to allocate the funding failed to get the supermajority required to pass.

Given the state’s budget deficit is projected to be north of $2.5 billion, and the Constitutional Budget Reserve is expected to have just $2.2 billion come July 1, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that legislators would use up the last of the state’s savings without the rest of the budget picture in clearer focus.

Don’t get us wrong, we think the idea of settling education funding early in the legislative session is a good thing. School districts need to have their budget done in early April — which has been months before the state budget has been passed in recent years. Knowing what funding is coming their way — rather than guessing — puts school districts in a much better situation.

But the Legislature has to stop allocating more money than is has revenue available, which means staying away from the savings accounts and instead addressing the state’s cash flow. That means that the Senate and House majorities will need to come to an agreement on how to use some of the earnings from the Alaska Permanent Fund to pay for state services. And it means that education funding — one of the largest pieces of the state budget — will be part of that discussion.

Members of the House majority suggested the House minority is playing politics with school funding. You know what? They’re right. But, again, they shouldn’t be surprised. The current House majority spent enough time as the minority to know just how much leverage a Constitutional Budget Reserve vote can provide. If the House majority wants to get school funding allocated — or any other funding, for that matter — they will need to play some politics themselves, and figure out how to make a deal.

More in Opinion

The official ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Division of Elections)
Voices of the Peninsula: Check out the ballot before you vote

This kind of ballot is not something you have seen before.

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Opinion: Remaining vigilant after 30 years

Exxon Valdez spurred both federal and state legislatures, the industry, and the public to come together